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Experts share tips on Central Illinois earthquake preparedness and risk

By Chance Sticklen,


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — “I just think about chaos, stuff being ruined, like homes, stuff like that,” Jabari Paris said.

Jabari Paris only knows about earthquakes from what you see in the movies, but the reality is, Illinois sits on two seismic zones, including one that officials say is home to some of the most powerful earthquakes in the country. Ross Maguire is a seismology professor at the U of I.

“There actually is a fault zone, close to us in, in sort of Missouri and southern Illinois, we call it the New Madrid fault zone,” Maguire said.

Is there a big earthquake on the way in Illinois?

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency says there is a 25 to 40% chance of a magnitude 6.0 or greater earthquake in that zone during a 50 year time span.

“In the past, several decades we’ve had sizeable earthquakes in Illinois, the most recent sort of larger event was in 2008 in Mt. Carmel, sort of south of Illinois,” Maguire said.

In 2021, you may remember feeling a small quake in central Illinois. The 3.8 magnitude earthquake came from Indiana, but Maguire says our area could feel something much stronger.

Earthquake Reported Thursday Afternoon in Central Illinois, West Indiana

“If there’s a large event, you could knock over heavy furniture, for examples bookshelves to the walls,” Maguire said.

Maguire says the earthquakes around this part of the Midwest don’t cause a lot of damage, but there are a few things communities can prepare for.

“You can stop trains or shutting off gas mains to negate some of that damage,” Maguire said.

Emergency management officials also say homeowners can buy additional earthquake coverage since it is often not included with standard homeowner’s insurance.

Paris says people should take the advice seriously.

“Just being realistic, I know there’s not a lot of earthquakes like in this region so we don’t really worry about it, but I would definitely say we should like prepare for anything to happen,” Paris said.

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